School district police officer stole from 22 schools
LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — He was supposed to be protecting our children, but instead, a former school district police officer was stealing from them. And he wasn’t doing much to keep it secret.
13 Investigates uncovers new details that show how a sergeant became a brazen thief.
CCSD Police Sergeant Robert Griffin pleaded guilty to one count of grand larceny last month –which we discovered was a just a drop in a bucket of thievery. Another case was filed against the former officer known as “Griff”, which brought over 70 new charges against him. He was able to make that go away with a plea deal, but he can’t hide the extent of his theft.
“Today kids learn differently than when I was in school. Paper, pencil and a notebook and your backpack. Today it’s high-end technology,” says Alan Diskin, an active parent who served on a school organizational team and has done a lot of fundraising to help make sure his daughter and her classmates have everything they need to learn.
“Schools are burdened with limited resources and they have only so many dollars to go around,” says Alan.
Alan heard about Robert Griffin stealing high tech items from West Tech, a school his daughter attended.
But he said the details we shared with him are like salt on a wound.
“We’re trying to slice a dollar 18 different way to make sure we can stretch it as far as it goes,” Alan explains. “So to know that the work that we spent years doing then is diminished when those resources disappear is a pretty hard pill to swallow.”
The hard facts we uncovered go far beyond a couple of stolen cameras at West Tech–which were the original charges in the first case . Court documents show Griffin is suspected of stealing dozens of Macbooks, ipads and Chromebooks going back as far back as 2014.
According to the police report, Griffin hit at least 22 schools all across the valley; Sig Rogich, Kit Carson, JD Smith, Williams Elementary, Southwest Tech, West Tech and Southeast Tech, Canarelli, Western, Cashman, Snyder, Keller, Brinley, Foothill, Lowman, Canyon Springs, Monaco, Eldorado, Del Sol Academy, Saville, Leavitt and Martinez.
“Somebody that misuses the public trust–that impacts children–is pretty bad,” says Alan.
The police report shows Griffin used his position as an officer to gain access to areas with district keys, bypassing alarms, “… and he would steer responding police units away from his location.”
But Sgt. Griffin didn’t stop with deceiving fellow officers and stealing while on the clock. It appears he was also selling the stolen loot while on duty.
Using online accounts, Griffin sent messages to customers alerting them when he was on duty, saying he “…could go anywhere in the valley to meet them because he is a patrol sergeant…” adding that, “…he was in a blue police patrol vehicle.”
“When bad things happen, that’s when reform and change comes into place,” says Alan. “I assume as we go forward, we’ll have better safeguards on the equipment, on the access. And it shows that it’s needed.”
We asked the district what lessons its leaders have learned and what safeguards they’ll put in place to prevent officers, or any employees with after-hours access, from walking off with expensive items. And what about GPS tracking applications like “find my mac?” why didn’t those help crack this case sooner? We are waiting for the district to respond to these questions.
With Griffin’s plea deal to one charge of grand larceny, he could go to prison for at least a year but could also get probation instead. And he owes the district $43,473.02 in restitution.
Many wonder whether that’s enough.
“This involves children. And children’s resources that are being short changed in the classroom.” says Alan. “That does affect children. I think that comes with more of an ethical dilemma.”
We spoke directly with District Attorney Steve Wolfson. He tells us Griffin got the same deal as just about anyone would with similar circumstances, considering it’s a non-violent crime and Griffin has no prior convictions. Wolfson also tells us Griffin appears to be sincere about paying back the District over $40,000, despite the fact we found Griffin filed for bankruptcy. His sentencing is scheduled for July 15.